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Weight Gain In Pregnancy

Weight gain during pregnancy

Concerned with how much weight you should gain during pregnancy? Read what is safe for a healthy pregnancy here

The first point to make when it comes to weight gain during pregnancy is that you are definitely going to gain weight – you are meant to!  And the most important criteria is to aim for a healthy pregnancy and provide your baby with the best possible start in life.

Pregnancy is not a good time to go on a diet - if you're overweight it's much better to try and address the issue before you become pregnant.  However you can change the way you eat to ensure your diet includes all the right prenatal vitamins and nutrients, leave out the foods to avoid during pregnancy and do your best to avoid piling on extra unnecessary pounds.

Remember, eating for two doesn't mean eating twice as much!  It does mean eating carefully to ensure you include all the right nutrients for you and your baby, without adding  extra calories that won't benefit either of you.  A healthy pregnancy diet only needs to include around 250-300 additional daily calories – but not until the third trimester!

So what is a normal weight gain in pregnancy?

Most pregnant women gain between 8-14 kgs (17.5- 30lbs) – the average is around 12.5 kg  (or 27.5 lbs)  which is of course considerably more than your baby will weigh.  

So how is your extra pregnancy weight made up?

  • At birth the average baby weighs around 3.3 kg  (7.3lb)
  • Expect the placenta to weigh 0.7kg (1.5lb)
  • The amniotic fluid weights around 0.8kg (1.8lb)
  • Your breasts will grow in size – that extra cleavage will add around 0.4kg (0.9lbs) to your weight
  • And your body will store around 4kg (8.8lb) in preparation for feeding your baby
  • The muscle layer of your uterus increases and will add around 0.9kg (2lb) to your weight
  • Pregnant women have an increase of around 50% in the volume of blood circulating in their body –and this adds another 1.2kg (2.6lb)
  • And extra fluid adds 1.2kg (2.6lb) to your pregnancy weight

Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can affect your health and increase your blood pressure, increasing the risk of complications such as gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia.  There is a higher risk of C-section deliveries amongst obese women and it can be difficult to shift the pregnancy weight after the birth.

Gaining too little weight during pregnancy can cause problems such as premature birth or  a baby with a low birth weight – although  plenty of naturally slim, fit and healthy women remain slim during pregnancy and produce  healthy, normal weight babies. 

Staying active and continuing to exercise during pregnancy will help you to maintain a normal weight gain whilst pregnant.  If you are overweight and not used to exercising  when you become pregnant it doesn't rule out any exercise at all – you can still include walking, swimming or even some gentle aerobics or pregnancy work outs.   And if you already include exercise as part of your pre-pregnancy lifestyle continuing to exercise regularly will be beneficial.

Eat well, choose healthy options and aim for 30 minutes exercise a day!  And if you have any issues regarding your weight, diet or exercise talk it over with your midwife or doctor. 

Looking for more tips for your healthy pregnancy diet, or recipes to enjoy tasty food packed with prenatal vitamins? Download our free e-book below!

Healthy pregnancy snack book

Fit pregnancy guide


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